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Challenge: Pandemic Parenting

Parents of 2020: Take a Bow.

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I want to write a special note to all the parents out there and just let you know that you did such an awesome job this year. This was the year where we couldn't hide from our kids who we really are anymore, or what we really feel. 2020 was a brutal reminder to parents everywhere, that one of our core responsibilities to our children, is to live and feel and experience this world in a way that is authentic. To model for them what it means to feel happy and sad and angry and hungry and weak and overwhelmed. You did such a fantastic job this year, modeling and giving them permission to be a feeling person in this world.

Parents of 2020: take a bow.

What a phenomenal job you did trying and failing miserably to homeschool them. It was genuinely awesome the way you lost your temper again and again, and had to figure out how to constantly keep composing yourself. What a great job you did showing them that all teachers are special, magical creatures akin to unicorns.

I love the way you started having a glass of wine at night, and then two at night. And then one at 4pm and another at 6pm and then realized if you drank that much every night you would have to go to bed at 7pm. It was truly awesome the way they showed them how to learn, adjust, recalibrate, and self moderate.

You did such an awesome job of teaching them how important it is to stay in touch with friends and family always, no matter the reason and distance. You taught them that when everything else falls away, they are always all that matters.

You taught them critical life skills, like how to use a twistie or unclog a toilet. You didn’t slouch on new skills either. You gave your first men’s haircut and did a horrendous job. That was so awesome how you tried something new and sucked at it, and taught them the importance of solid self confidence, a good hat, and an even better barber.

I absolutely love the way you cancelled all of their birthday parties and celebrations and taught them to focus on finding joy in their accomplishments and small gestures of kindness rather than dwell on what didn’t happen.

You were also so completely great about dwelling on the stuff that didn’t happen and giving yourself and them time and space to openly pout and be sad about that. That was terrific, the way you showed them it was okay to mourn what wasn’t.

I love that you showed them what came next. I love the way you persevered, even when you didn’t know what challenges each new day would bring. I love how you showed them that your job was to rise each day, even if you were in yesterday’s clothes and three days without a shower, no less equal to the task.

Except on the days you didn’t! I love how you showed them that sometimes, fighting a new day might just as well mean sleeping in and taking a bath and watching netflix till your eyeballs fall out. Sometimes you rise to the fight. Sometimes you sit it out for a day. You save up your strength. That’s okay too. It was great how you didn’t get out of bed for that week in April. Seriously, that was pretty special.

This year you showed them gray hairs! So many gray hairs! I loved that you left them gray, or didn’t leave them gray, and reminded them that being a woman in the world is about learning to choose what makes you feel beautiful and happy, not letting others define that for you. That was so awesome how you did that.

I absolutely love the way you hid in the closet or the bathroom, seeking any refuge you could away from them. That was seriously so smart. I love how you prioritize your own care and needs. That was wonderful for them to see (or not!)

I love how you walked with them and without them and with your friends and your partner and your thoughts or just the birds. I love the way you walked for miles and miles these past few months, forcing air into your body and reminding yourself and them to breathe and take these days one step at a time. How simple yet deceptively smart.

I love the way you showed them both how to work out really hard and that you don't need a fancy gym to do that, but also how to really enjoy tasty food too. Ice cream is a food group and this is a hill I will die on. I like the way you showed them that too.

I love the way you fought for what you believed in, teaching them all sorts of words that they shouldn't know yet. It’s great that they will think it is normal to yell obscenities at cable news. How wonderful to teach them to be passionate and engaged in the stories of the day!

So I just wanted to say great job for losing your temper, or crying at breakfast. The way that you flipped off that person at the stoplight, that was pretty awesome too. I liked the way you laughed, cried, swore and just generally unraveled in front of them, sometimes all at the same time - impressive! It's awesome the way you are modeling and giving them permission to be a feeling person in this world.

Parents, you seriously crushed it this year.

Onward.


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